Spaghetti and the frigitello, the tiny pepper symbol of southern Italian cuisine

A difficult morning, the scorching city summer temperatures, and not enough motivation to go to the market.

I’m still in the city, but by looking on social media at my friends’ pictures at the beach I can immerse myself in their world, just for a moment. Summers in Rome are hot, but it adds all the more charm as a city lent to tourism for these few summer months. Luckyly the fridge never lets me down. I’ll make pasta with the frigitelli bought yesterday, a simple and easy recipe, one you’d take to the beach.

Are you asking yourself what Frigitelli are? You’re not alone…they’re long green peppers, 6 to 8 centimeteres at max, a staple for any southern Italian table. The name comes from the fact that they are usually fried in a pan, and eaten straight out of the pan.

Their sweet taste makes them stand out from all other peppers that are found in Greek, turkish and Spanish cuisine, similiar in shape but extremely spicy.

But be warned: do not mistake frigitelli with the friarielli of Naples, a kind of radish, much more bitter than the Roman variety (but nonetheless as delicious and intriguing, especially for certain recipes).

Spaghetti with Frigitelli Recipe

To start the dish, take the frigitelli peppers and take out the seeds. Cut them in thin circles: keeping attention on the thinnes of the cut might seem useless but it’s useful to make the pepper sauce be one with the pasta, and enhance the flavour of the overall combination.   Sautè the frigitelli in a pan together with white onion and a pinch of black pepper, but don’t cook them too long, and without guanciale this time since it’s too hot. After all not everything has to be a “Gricia”. The pecorino is also on vacation this time, but you can choose to sprinkle some anyway. It’s summer, let’s leave the vegetable to conquer our tables!

I follow the phylosophy of the pilgrim Artusi.

Once drained, cook the pasta with the frigitelli sauce, and incorporate some of the water you used to cook the pasta in. Serve immediately. I know it’s summer but it’s better to eat tis pasta as soon as it’s ready to enjoy the flavours to the fullest.

And the wine?

A Falangina dei Campi Flegrei would be perfect, the aroma of ripe fruit pairs well with the slight bitterness of the frigitello. The scent of cooked frigitelli and wine that race with each other takes us back to a summer spent in alleyways and chraming squares of Naples. I also had a Frascati Superiore, suits the plate extremely well too. A good frascati always has its reasons…

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